Kadena car salesman pleads not guilty to rape charges
January 27, 2005
NAHA, Okinawa — An American civilian invoked his right to silence in a Japanese court Tuesday after listening to a prosecutor charge him with two counts each of burglary and rape.
Dag Allen Thompson, 31, a new-car salesman on Kadena Air Base, is charged with sneaking into the Chatan home of a 21-year-old Okinawa woman on Aug. 22 and raping her. Thompson was arrested on Oct. 15 after he was identified from a composite sketch police drew from her description.
A saliva swab police took from Thompson during interrogation reportedly linked him to the June 13, 1998, rape of a 27-year-old Okinawa woman in Naha, said prosecutor Masahisa Yokota.
Yokota said he would prove Thompson committed both rapes by linking DNA evidence taken from semen collected at the crime scenes to the saliva sample.
Defense attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu entered a plea of not guilty on the August rape and intrusion charge and moved to dismiss charges in the 1998 incident.
“The prosecution failed to adequately notify U.S. military authorities that they were exercising jurisdiction, a requirement under the status of forces agreement between the two countries,” Takaesu said.
The three-judge panel gave Takaesu until Feb. 8 to file written arguments for his motion. The next court session is set for Feb. 15.
Thompson, tall and with a crew cut, wore a white shirt, blue-and-gold-striped tie and dark-blue pants as two guards led him into the courtroom. His hands were cuffed in front of him; a rope tied around his waist tethered him to the guards.
The guards removed the handcuffs and tether while he sat between them on a bench in front of the defense table and listened intently to an English translation of the proceedings. He has been in police custody since his arrest Oct. 15 and was moved to the Naha Detention Center after his indictment in December.
In his opening statement, Yokota stated that the former Marine had abandoned his Okinawa wife and three children in 1999 to live with another woman. Yokota said Thompson told his wife his work kept him from their Naha home six days a week and told his girlfriend that he was divorced.
Yokota accused Thompson of sneaking into the house of a sleeping woman in August and assaulting her at 1:50 a.m. After he left, she took a piece of her soiled bedsheet and a tissue she said contained her attacker’s semen to a police station in Chatan, Yokota said.
The DNA on those items matched DNA wiped from the floor of the Naha woman attacked in 1998, Yokota said.
He also said the woman in the August incident had a good look at her attacker’s face by the light of a cell phone she picked up from a night table as she was assaulted.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Takaesu said New York lawyer Michael Griffith would help with Thompson’s defense. Griffith specializes in defending Americans charged with felony crimes overseas. He perhaps is best known on Okinawa for his involvement in the defense the past two years of Marine Maj. Michael Brown on a charge of attempted rape and the defense of three servicemen charged in the 1995 abduction and rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl.